Let me first preface this review by saying that the number of murder mysteries that I have read number in the singe digits, and the low single digits at that. And two of those books were by Miss Castillo. I can hardly call myself an avid reader and expert of murder mysteries, but I’ll do my best. You might also want to check out my goodreads review of Linda Castillo’s first novel in the Kate Burkholder series, Sworn to Silence. This review is about a second book in the series, but I seem to think they stand pretty well on their own, and there’s nothing you’ll really have spoiled for you by my reviewing this book on my blog without doing the first.
This is a wildly compelling story that does make you want to keep reading, but it gets bogged down in some details that should have been edited out. I get really tired of reading about how Kate has trouble dealing with things. The violence in this book is overwhelming, and it’s not made better by the fact that the author seems to be apologizing for it in her text by having Kate moon over how terrible everything is. Honestly, I wish some of it would be toned down a bit overall. We can get the picture without having it nailed into our heads over and over again. Kate watching one video of a violent barbaric rape of an Amish girl would be enough. We don’t need to have MANY of them described for us.
I also don’t feel there was any personal growth on the part of any of the characters in either book, the first or the second. The first book made it seem like catching the killer would lead her closer to atonement and closure over the terrors of her past. Eh… maybe it will work the second time around. I bet you anything there are identical struggles in the third book with alcoholism, night terrors and the like. And not just with Kate. Tomasetti is also quite the bundle of rapturous sunbeams. If there had just been a smattering of details like this, it wouldn’t have been so bad. But, like the violence, it is overbearing and eventually starts to annoy, making both of these characters not nearly as compelling as they have the potential of being.
One more thing that irks me – these poor Painter’s Mill Amish people must be cursed. Either that or each one of them is smeared with serial killer and rapist attraction goo. It’s perhaps a bit unrealistic to me that this one town can be plagued by so much horror and death at the hands of violent sociopaths. Then again, anything is possible.
Overall, 3 stars for “Pray for Silence.” It keeps you interested, but due to serious flaws in characterization and lack of proper editing, it could be much better